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Department of Resource Economics

Renewing an Agriculture of the Middle: Value Chain Design, Policy Approaches, Environmental and Social Impacts

We will develop a mathematical model that predicts how farmers (or firms) will make decisions when choosing between two markets. The markets we will study include a wholesale market, where farmer's products are no different from all other farmers, and a farm-to-school market where the farmer's products are differentiated (the farmer is known and the products are known to be locally produced). We will then design economic experiments that could be used to test the model's theoretical results.

Understanding the Choice Between Leasing and Owning for Residential Solar Systems

Each potential adopter faces a crucial decision--to lease or to own the panels. Leasing the panels from a solar company incurs little to no upfront cost. A fixed lease payment, however, reduces the net saving from the electricity generated by the panels. On the other hand, owning solar panels includes a high immediate cost with a higher return in future periods resulting from the absence of lease payments. Moreover, solar owners can receive additional revenue from selling Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SREC).

Interactions of Individual, Family, Community, and Policy Contexts on the Mental and Physical Health of Diverse Rural Low-Income Families

The goal of this project is to understand the many complexities of physical and mental health faced by rural low-income families within the context of their communities. Poverty is disproportionately higher and more persistent in rural areas than in urban areas and problems of unemployment, underemployment, lower wages, and poor health make it more difficult for the rural poor to escape poverty.

Economic Experiments on the Defense of Common Pool Resources

This project aims to design and conduct economic laboratory experiments to investigate behavioral issues related to the defense of common pool resources from encroachment by outsiders. Common pool resources are assets -- often natural assets such as forests, fisheries and water supplies --t hat are managed by a group of users. These resources are prone to inefficient use because individuals tend toward over-exploitation relative to what would maximize the welfare of the group.

Economics of Individual and Collective Preparedness for Unpredictable, Global Threats in Population, Food and the Environment

This project focuses on the economics of coping with decision environment anomalies through preparedness. Approaches to decision making in the presence of global anomalies and the economic implications for individual and collective preparedness will be investigated.

General Deterrence, Audit Uncertainty and Environmental Regulation

The efficacy of many government regulations, especially environmental policies, depends largely on the voluntary compliance of subjects. Monitoring of subjects and enforcement of the law acts to induce compliance; however, it is often too costly to employ subjects. Monitoring of subjects and enforcement of the law acts to induce compliance; however, it is often too costly to employ the resources required to induce perfect compliance.

Private and Public Strategies and the Performance of Food Markets Along the Supply Chain

A key aspect of food markets are their vertical structures: products move along supply chains from manufacturers (or farmers) to wholesalers to retailers or food service operators to consumers. Interactions among firms in these chains give rise to a variety of economic issues that are no less important than those studied in horizontal interaction (i.e. firms competing for the same end consumer), yet previous work has tended to focus on the latter.

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